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tv   Washington Ideas Forum Day 1 Afternoon Session  CSPAN  January 2, 2015 12:06am-12:25am EST

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>> my wife takes one spoonful every once in a while at night. >> and also for you, mass production. you are going from wholesale to retail model. >> to me, what is needed is going into that whole thing of reusing machines, reusing a different approach. it just serves what my interests are a little better. i think it serves the customers' interests a lot better. no one said i want cake in a jar. but based on the feedback, this is the element that kind of solves problems people did not know they had. >> have you patented cake in a jar? >> cannot patented. >> there are samples. this is the good news. we could not have talked about this without providing it. and you have had no calories. you can now pretend.
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you will go out and learn something about cupcake cleanliness. which i really like. and truth in cupcakes from an admirable warm brown -- warren brown. thank you. [applause] >> a discussion with the ceo of the online education company ex -- ed x. this is almost 20 minutes. [applause] >> i feel like i won the moderator lottery by getting to interview these gentlemen. who by themselves are phenomenal. and together are this superpowered team. i told them that washington is dated on, once you get past the ego and get to the staffer
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level, you just want to make the country better. these gentlemen are doing it. talk about the st. louis experiment. >> i am from st. louis. we have the same talent shortage that is worldwide. got enough programmers. about a year ago i was invited to a programming class. i said if you teach this class it will not work because the students who graduate from this nontraditional class cannot get hired. employers have a huge bias. they will not take you unless you have a certain degree from certain institutions. i said we should do this experiment and try to change the employment landscape. i personally called the ceo's at 100 companies in town and got them to agree to change their hiring practice. i said i will give you a qualified person, but not someone hr is going to like. you're going to pay them $15 an hour and pair them with existing programmers. it is up to you. hire them, fire them whatever.
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to date, 90% of the people we placed have gotten full-time jobs. these are not your normal placements. these are people over 40. minorities. women. 82% of our people do not have technical degrees. half of them did not go to college. we are placing people into programming jobs. real jobs, not charity jobs. solving a need for companies and getting real jobs for people. when we started this, we were taking people that would come through the door. we quickly realized there was an education problem. we look for a resource where we could point people that was not going to basically raped them like some of the for-profit educational providers have. given some of the nonprofits. my wife had been taking cs50 at harvard. she said this class was made
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free through ed x. we now are for people to ed x. >> we enter anon and ed x. you said education should be like air. everyone should have access. what is staggering to me as a mom, i would have to win the lottery to send my children to my elmo motter. what is so neat is you are taking the elite institutions and saying we are going to give it away for free. have you had pushed back? >> by and large, you will never hear a professor or university -- why would anybody say we should not be giving away a good thing? a basic human right? no professor would say let's not give away our education. on ed x, we have three million
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learners and courses from some of the best universities. georgetown. harvard, merkley. -- berkeley. coaches in every field and savable, including coding. everybody wants to have students take these courses. there has been no pushback. but the real challenge has been execution. how on earth do we keep doing these good things? we are a nonprofit. many universities are nonprofit. the key is supporting courses and building a platform. it takes resources. it is a real challenge. how do you build a sustainable model? when you are giving away something for free, how do you get some sustenance that enables you to do this forever? philanthropy is helping us a lot.
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harvard contributes $60 million. any other universities helping us. at the same time, also working on sustaining revenue morals. i firmly believe that in three to five years, we will be self-sustaining. >> that is amazing. let's go into the st. louis experiment. i know that you guys have plans to replicate this. the baltimore-denver. could washington be on your experiment list? >> launch code is resource-constrained. launch code is me and for people. there was five, but one got deported. [laughter] this is not funny. good people cannot stay in the u.s. i'm going to lose another one if we cannot figure out what to do with his visa. my staff is under 25 and dedicated to this. but we have no resources to expand. >> washington has a lot of smart
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people. so we are hearing job opportunities here on the stage. there is hope that washington answers the call. >> miami has offered us $1 million to open up a an operation done there. there are organizations that say, we have $1 million if you can bring lunch go to miami. we are using that model nationwide. any city that can come up with the ponds, we will open up a branch and put people to work in real numbers. >> is there anything washington -- you mentioned immigration and deportation. is there anything policymakers can do to help you guys? >> let us keep some smart people in the u.s. that is our main ask right now. i do not have much of a policy.
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so i do not know what can be done from the government level. but if we could keep some of the people we had here, that would be a huge help. >> most important way is to keep out of the way. [laughter] [applause] >> we are doing good. we are a nonprofit. we have free courses from top universities in the world. a course on globalization from georgetown for free. students all over the world can take. a lot of the laws and policies were made in an age where you read things on a piece of paper. you had to walk to get to and education. there was no free resources. the internet did not exist. we are running afoul of the policies and so on. i am learning all kinds of three letter departments in the u.s..
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i did not know that existed. we are doing things for free. here is something you ran afoul of. the challenges, you are doing good and run afoul of stuff. we need to find ways to get past these things. i think the leadership that helps from the u.s. government. department of education has been helpful to us. the white house has been helpful to us. our helpers and godfathers and certain departments of the government have in helping us with some of the other agencies that do not understand why this is a good thing. hopefully they will continue helping us with the impediments. >> geeknet impediments, one of my favorite things about your biographies are you overcoming them. jim, you have a great story i would like you to share with the
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audience about being a smartass in freshman year. >> i started at washington as an undergraduate economics major. the textbook was terrible. i was spouting off about how that was. i said, i can write a better thing than this. my roommate said, why don't you? so on a dare, i rewrote the textbook as a freshman. they get published the next year. the publisher asked for a second. as a sophomore, i got two textbooks published. that led me to add a second degree in engineering. i got roped into technology because i was a writer. >> so great. one of my favorite things about you is you failed a physics exam. 25 years later, you are teaching at m.i.t. >> i have the opposite problem. [laughter] >> you heard about this college
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readiness gap. between college and jobs, you have a skills gap. everything seems to be falling into a gap. from school in southern india, i joined iit. i have not learned calculus. the professors assume you know calculus. the 300 students in my class two students failed. i was one of them. >> one of my favorite things in life to look at is technology. it is making some things moved so fast and other things not move. like the price of education has not gone down. it has just gone up. what is the tipping point going to happen? >> i think it is funny you have a system where professors that
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go to a university would not be able to send their children to the same university if they had to pay tuition. something is broken about the education system. for something like education which is a basic human right. like the air that we breathe. one of the things that we can do is bring technology to education. i think we can do one of two things. what i'm convinced about is using technology for the same cost, we can do a lot better in quality. either online or in blended models, we are seeing results that show you can do much better pass rates on campus or online. second is that, or the same outcome, i believe we can reduce cost. i believe it is hard to do both in large measure. but i think we can reduce cost for the same outcome. or for the same cost, you can improve outcome. if you look at original outcomes
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across, that is the efficiency of the system. technology can be used to prove the that improve the efficiency of education. >>. said that we had instant replay in sports by can't we had that in education? i would love to play that again. >> two weeks ago, i was at a patriots game in foxboro. we were up in the nosebleed region. i could not see anything. i was not sure why was there. if you look at your living room instant replay, just imagine watching football without instant replay. sports would not be sports. instant replay has changed sports completely. why can we not have that in education? i would lose the professor and not follow anything the professor said. imagine if you could give students a rewind button.
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we can give them a rewind, upon. you can even give them a mute. [laughter] >> if you are picturing what i was different, i was picturing a room of 19-year-old. it is not just people at that age group. people need retraining in her 20's and 30's. we placed a guy who is 58. what you are doing at ed x is profound because it makes learning available lifelong. what we are seeing in the trenches with job placement is people need to re-skill. especially with programming. if you do not have access to good education or reeducation you will never keep up. >> one of the things that is so interesting about your success is you do not stop with education. and you used data and your brilliant mind to say these
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people are being passed over by the hr department. people that look or sound different. have different habits or like to work at night. that to me is so fascinating. talk to me about how you figure that out and how the data help you solve it. >> what we realize is there is a disconnect between the demand for programmers. these are great jobs. and a lot of people that want to take these great jobs. it turns out there are a couple of problems in the market. education is sort of broken. so the people who take this half and want to get one of these jobs can get routed into an educational institution that gives them a lousy education. not just the for profits, but they are pretty terrible. there are some nonprofits that are giving bad education. there is no way for the learner to choose education's. the other problem is the company themselves are hesitant to hire
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new programmers because new programmers can do damage. if i let you lose some of my database and throughout my company -- screw up my company. so companies are only hiring people with experience. but if you only hire people with experience, you never get a with experience. so we have a special way of onboarding new talent that doesn't endanger productivity. i can take any firm that needs programmers and give them new programmers in a way that does not decrease overall productivity. >> since we are in washington, we have to talk politics. guilty pleasure. one of the things that is so interesting about you, in any presidential cycle both sides agree on let's help startups. jim, you are a cofounder of square, and you talked about how
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you solve a problem in your hometown. why do you not run for office? [laughter] >> and i am here to announce --. no. [laughter] i have never talked about politics because i never saw it as the problem. from my perspective right now. >> a lot of good tweets are. >> did it look like a solution, i might consider it very seriously. but i am so neutral, it is amazing. i do not have any sort of political interests right now. >> and anon, i notice you only follow 23 people. one is chelsea clinton. but you do not follow her mom. do you know something we do not know? >> how do you know that? >> i do my research.
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>> everybody knows everything about everybody. i was on a panel with chelsea. she has been doing amazing work with education and children and others. i follow her tweets in terms of pointing out a lot of interesting resources. i am not a big -- i do not follow politics too much unless i see a politician that wants to do something innovative and radical. when obama came to the scene, i was blown away. i used to go around saying six years ago that would be a great president. >> for now? >> i think he is getting there. >> i know we are running out of time, but i want to say thank you so much for your time. i know we will all be following you. i will bet you will have a lot of politicians knocking on your door. thank

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